Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God


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16. Cultivating Christ Like Character, Kindness – Part 3

2 Timothy 1:8-18

So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. 10 And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. 11 And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News. 12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return. 13 Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. 14 Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you. 15 As you know, everyone from the province of Asia has deserted me—even Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. 17 When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me.18 May the Lord show him special kindness on the day of Christ’s return. And you know very well how helpful he was in Ephesus.

After seeing how kindness is supportive we come to the third characteristic of kindness and one we really don’t like to talk about:

  1. Sacrifice

The truth is kindness will cost you. First you will have to sacrifice selfishness, because you will never serve others as long as you are focused on self. Paul tells us that everyone from the province of Asia had deserted him even those he thought were close to him and cared. Why did they desert him, the same reason most of the disciples deserted Jesus, to save their own skin. Bringing kindness to Paul would have associated them with the prisoner. It could have ruined their reputation and caused them to also be put in chains. One of the biggest reasons we are not caring is because kindness costs. There is a price to pay. So why did Onesiphorus risk his freedom and even his life to be kind to Paul, because he remembered the price Christ paid for his freedom. When kindness is motivated by grace we will give, but when kindness is motivated by getting, how it will benefit me, we will only be kind as long as it serves self. Many instead of being kind are being mean in their marriages because the motivation behind their kindness is not grace but getting. Instead of seeking ways to serve their spouse they are trying to serve self. Instead of trying to be a blessing they are trying to benefit. There are many men who are being kind to their wife not to serve her but to have sex with her. But she instinctively knows that you are not interested in her heart and so she ignores your advances. Just like patience there is a price to kindness, but the price of not being kind is greater. How many of us are paying the price of not being kind, not just with our spouses but with our kids. True kindness is motivated by sacrificial service, it understands that not only is there a price to be paid but it is willing to pay it. Which brings us to the fourth characteristic of kindness:

  1. Searching

Kindness requires being intentional. I want you to notice that Onesiphorus didn’t just think kind thoughts, he went to Rome, and when he got there he searched everywhere until he found Paul. Kindness doesn’t just happen we have to be intentional. Kindness is an attitude that’s expresses itself in action. We have to be willing to put our agendas aside and seek out those who need a touch of kindness. Here was a man that left his home and journey to the big city of Rome to share the kindness of God. When he got there, he had to search for Paul, which means he would have had to inquire about Paul the prisoner and risk being associated with him. We don’t know how long he had to search for Paul, but we do know that he found him and cared for him with kindness. So, who do you need to search out and share God’s kindness with?  The last characteristic of kindness that I want to talk about is:

  1. Storing

Onesiphorus was kind to a man who was unable to repay him. But notice what Paul prays for: “May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family.” Here is a powerful reminder that when it comes to kindness, the Lord is watching and while it may not benefit us in this world we will be blessed in the next. So, let me ask you where are you investing your time and talents, are you investing them in yourself and making short term investments here or are you sharing them and storing up treasures in heaven? If we would open up our eyes to those around us we would see that there are many people held back by the chains and the pains of this life. But kindness can cut through the chains of loneliness, abandonment, and anger. You see kindness refreshes relationships and kindness kindles the flame of friendship. Kindness is not just a principle but something we need to put into practice. I want to invite you to participate in a 30-day kindness challenge. I want you to pray about who you need to show kindness to and then for the next 30 days:

  1. Say nothing negative about that person, either to them or about them to anyone else.
  2. Each day find one positive thing you can praise or affirm about that person and tell them and tell someone else.
  3. Each day, do one small act of kindness or generosity for them.

It’s time for us to care for others with kindness in the same way that Christ cares for us.

 


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15. Cultivating Christ Like Character, Kindness – Part 2

2 Timothy 1:8-18

So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. 10 And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. 11 And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News. 12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return. 13 Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. 14 Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you. 15 As you know, everyone from the province of Asia has deserted me—even Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. 17 When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me.18 May the Lord show him special kindness on the day of Christ’s return. And you know very well how helpful he was in Ephesus.

So, what does kindness look like? Well in 2 Timothy 1:8-18 we see several characteristics of a kind person:

  1. Sensitive

The first thing that we see is that kind people are sensitive to others. They are aware of the needs of those around them. We need to start paying attention to those around us so that we become aware of their needs. Most of us are not sensitive to the needs of others because we are so focused on self. Sadly we have become a self-sensitive society instead of a service centered one. But selfishness will cause us to become callous to the cares of others instead of concerned. Being sensitive means taking the time to tune in to the needs of others. Kindness always starts with sensitivity. Philippians 2:3-4 says: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” So how sensitive are you to the needs of others? How much time do you spend thinking about self and how much do you spend serving? Kindness always starts with noticing what is going on in other people’s lives. But in order to do that you have to take your eyes of off yourself. Many of us have become so self-absorbed that we barely see those around us. When we go to the store we are usually on a mission but it’s not a mission of mercy but a mission for me. Can I share a sobering fact, everyone you meet this week needs kindness. From the person on the street, to the person sitting in church. Now I want you to realize that all of the people mentioned in this scripture were sensitive, it’s just that some were sensitivity to self and others were sensitive to serving. Paul was in prison and those he had ministered to and poured his life into had deserted him, they were so sensitive to self that they didn’t think about how their actions would affect Paul. But Onesiphorus was different, you see sensitivity opens up our sight to service. What about you, are you sensitive to self or serving? Second not only was he sensitive but he was:

  1. Supportive

A second characteristic exhibited by kind people is supportiveness. In verse 15 Paul reveals that there were those who deserted him: “As you know, everyone from the province of Asia has deserted me—even Phygelus and Hermogenes.” They chose not to be supportive at a time when Paul was in prison. This was a critical time in Paul’s life, a time when he needed the care and compassion of fellow Christians, especially those he had personally loved and cared for. Why were they not supportive, was it because they were afraid that if they supported Paul and were identified with him that they too might go to prison? Being supportive meant that they would share in Paul’s suffering for the Good News. It’s hard to support others when you are focused on self. In contrast to their callousness we see Onesiphorus in verse 16 selflessly supporting Paul:  “May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me.” This involves being supportive not just in what we do but what we say. Do your words build people up or belittling and tear them down? One of the main reasons that marriages fail is because we are not supportive in our speech. Instead of speaking kind words we speak words that kill. Proverbs 15:1 says: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” Nobody likes to be put down. We may sing the silly children’s song, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” But it’s not true, the Bible says that death and life are in the power of the tongue. You can destroy others with what you say to them or you can build them up and bless them. Something as simple as a smile can change a person’s day. How supportive are you with your spouse? When it comes to marriage many of us are competing instead of completing. Instead of kindling our marriages we are killing them. We need to be wise with our words and instead of killing others care for them with kindness. What if you made it your mission to give everyone you meet today an emotional lift of encouragement. Proverbs 3:3 says: Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.” How supportive are you in your speech? Do you encourage or discourage others with your words? Kindness builds bridges where harsh words build barriers.